Tomorrow is 1 April so I’ve posted this a day early to assure you it is not an April Fools prank. If we set a plan today and be ready to kick-start it tomorrow, by the end of the month you could have an extra $750+ in hand!
This post was inspired by my sister. She is expecting her first baby (my first nephew!) at the end of April and she is currently in stork mode; getting everything prepared for her imminent arrival while also trying to see where she can cut ongoing costs before going on maternity leave and dropping down to one wage for a while. While this may not be your situation what could you do with an extra $750? Throw it at your debts, start up an emergency fund, plan some travel or prepay next year’s insurance to get an upfront discount? The freedom that extra money could give you is tremendous – so get started now!
Our top tips for saving more than $750 in 30 days
1. Switch mobile phone providers
If you are locked into a contract you might have to wait until the end date, but if you still paying what you originally signed up for even though you are now on a rolling contract or you are prepaid and have the chance to switch, review what benefits you are actually using and see if there is a better deal out there. Don’t need unlimited calls or international dialling? Or want to call your family overseas but have Wi-Fi at home so don’t need the mobile data. Whatever your needs are make sure you know going into it so you are less likely to end up with something that is bundled up and full of thing you won’t use.
Amount saved – $10 per month
2. Bring your own lunch to work
An oldie but a goodie for a reason, it saves a lot of money and is super easy to do. If you aren’t much of a chef, ask your colleague to go in to a pot luck roundup where you each are responsible for bringing work for the group just 1 day per week. Worst case, it is only a month and ham sandwiches are delicious 😉
Amount saved – $5 per day = $100 per month
3. Fix it don’t bin it
I’m always surprised by what I find outside on hard rubbish days in my area. Usually it is something still in good condition that may require just one small repair, or often there nothing wrong with it at all they’ve just upgraded. Consider if a new clip, clasp, zipper, battery a good clean or lick of paint will be worth the small cost vs buying a whole new item. If you start off buying good quality items it is almost always worth fixing instead of consistently buying cheap versions over and over again.
Amount saved – $20 on a new shirt when you could have sewn a new button
4. Search for a discount code before buying
I do this every time I buy something online. A simple ‘X brand/product + discount code’ usually yields a plethora of hits on any search engine. Sure you may have to spend a few minutes filtering through the dud ones, or those that have expired, but the savings are well worth it. This morning I was buying some health supplements and green tea (super cool I know) the postage estimate was $19 (that’s what I get for shopping in the US, cheaper prices but crazy postage costs) and I found a discount code that saved me $5 + free shipping – score!
Amount saved – $24
5. Host a picnic
Are your weekends filled with brunch invitations, birthday dinners and catch up lunches? You might not be able to sway someone else’s birthday plans, but for catch ups and less formal occasions you should jump in and suggest a picnic because relationships don’t have to be expensive.
Amount saved – $23 – smashed avo and coffee is expensive!
6. Cancel a subscription
I don’t know why anyone these days would have Foxtel (sorry sis) it is overpriced and seems to be the same shows on repeat all the time. You can watch TV online for free, or if you really need to keep up with the new shows everyone is talking about Netflix might be a good option. However if this snowballs into having Stan, Pronto or any other subscription service as well then you may need to get a different hobby.
It’s not only TV subscriptions you might also have signed up to beauty box delivery service or fresh food box that you’ve been meaning to cancel but just haven’t gotten around to. I won’t even get started on gym memberships.
Most subscriptions rely on you being lazy and not remembering to cancel so they’ll happily keep sending you stuff you don’t need or won’t use as long as you keep paying. They might try to make it hard to cancel as well offering a free month or a discount to entice you to stay (Foxtel are famous for this) but you’ll definitely be better off in the long run if you just suck it up and cancel.
Amount saved – $70 per month
7. Don’t accept poor service
This was something I was too shy to do for a long time; however I have recently built up my confidence in this area when something hasn’t turned out how I’d expected. Before I would just let it go and be disappointed, but now I will call or write to a business and explain why I wasn’t happy with their product/service and see what they can do to keep a loyal customer. This happened very recently with my internet service provider, I had no service for 8 days – yes a first world problem I know – but when I rely on the internet for work (and this blog) that is a very long time to go without so I had to pay extra to hotspot data from my phone. I wrote to the company and explained that I would like a partial credit for the days that I was not provided the service as well as a reimbursement for the extra money I had to spend in the meantime.
Amount saved – $25 that you would have just let slide
8. Ask for a discount
If you really need to buy something new or even second hand you may have a few questions about the item, one of them should be ‘What’s your best price?’ This comes naturally to some people, though I admit I’m not one of them. Retailers are used to this so they knock off a few dollars to make you feel like you’ve scored when really that was what they were always happy to sell it for. If you don’t ask you won’t save.
Amount saved – $40 off the shelf price
9. And see if you can get a freebie thrown in
Once you’ve negotiated the price down, then take the next step and also ask if they are willing to throw in X product you were also considering. This is usually a low price point compared to the product you have just agreed to purchase so often they’ll happily agree thinking it isn’t worth much, but you just scored something extra, go you!
Amount saved – $15 as we both know you were going to buy the screen protector anyway
10. Switch to generic brands
Switch to generic brands for things that are the same or similar. Blind taste tests have proven that most generic products taste the same or better than their branded counterparts and we are influenced so much by marketing and branding that we believe they are higher quality. Oftentimes generic products are made in the same factory (sometimes at the same time) as the branded products and are simply packaged differently. For some things you may not agree, but at least trial it for 1 month and see how you go. Super tip – add the generic product into the branded packet where possible e.g. tomato sauce bottle, to trick your mind into thinking it is the real thing – bonus points if you don’t tell your partner and kids and they don’t notice 😉
Amount saved – $25
11. Do the $21 grocery challenge
Take stock of everything in your fridge and pantry and make a meal plan to use up what you have, only allowing yourself $21 to buy top up ingredients as required for the month. That can of tuna, and one of the many cans of beans and tomatoes I know you have in there could be made into a tuna pasta bake for dinner one night, maybe even leftovers for lunch. What I love about this challenge is that it forces me to be creative. What will I do with a jar of homemade quince puree? As I know it is low in sugar I didn’t feel bad eating it for breakfast so I threw together some apple, toasted oats and the quince puree to use as a topping for yoghurt and the rest baked into a banana & quince bread, breakfast and snacks sorted for a week. Sometimes we have a few default recipes in our minds and can’t see beyond that when a new ingredient comes our way (these were a gift from my grandmother’s tree). Lucky for me I got to try some new flavour combinations that turned out to be awesome by the way. If you aren’t sure what might go well with the ingredients you’ve found, type a couple into google and it will bring up a list of recipes to give you some inspiration.
Amount saved – a months’ worth of groceries, average $120+
12. Use your credit card reward points to buy groceries
If you have a credit card that accrues rewards points you could use them to get an overpriced set of scales, an overpriced foodie gift pack, or an overpriced night in a hotel. Are you seeing a pattern here? Most things in rewards programs are not value for money for you, the customer, and you could get better deals elsewhere by shopping around. The one thing that can be valuable is to swap your points for grocery store gift cards. That way, you can shop the specials and use the gift card more than once so you don’t feel pressured to use it all at once on a splurge item. Combine this with the tips above to save this month and next month too!
Amount saved – $30 now + more later
13. Cut up your credit card
Once you’ve used up your rewards points consider if the card is worth keeping for what you got. If there is an annual fee on the card, are you getting more than this back in reward value? Are you diligently paying it off each month so as not to accrue interest? If not, cut it up and cancel it. This will also stop you spending more money and stop accruing more interest on current balances.
Amount saved – annual fee + interest $10 per month
14. Only spend cash
With your meal plan from above add in any planned expenses for the next month and take out that amount of cash from the ATM. Super tip – use your banks ATM to avoid the $2.50 withdrawal fee or switch to ING Direct and never pay ATM fees again. Now only spend the cash you have for the month ahead. You will be far more aware of every dollar you hand over if you have to use cash so you may not be as quick to buy the little extras that seem to sneak in from time to time, especially as you get closer to the end of the month and the cash reserves start to get lower – your brain hates to feel like it is losing what is yours, use that.
Amount saved – $30 on the little things + $2.50 ATM fee
15. Review your insurance
When was the last time you reviewed your insurance to ensure you were getting the best deal? With car, home, health, contents, life and a myriad of other insurances on the market, they hope to make it confusing so you never review and compare. Consider if your needs have changed recently and you need to change your level of cover. Once you are clear on what you need make a few enquiries online to see who is offering the best value. As you can see, I didn’t say cheapest, I said best value. This means my level of cover has to meet your needs without including extras you won’t get use from. Often there are sign up bonuses or discounts if you switch, or you could even use that quote to negotiate a discount from your current provider. Also consider paying a year in advance if you can afford it to negotiate a lower yearly price.
Amount saved – $20 per month
16. While you are at it, review your utilities
With so much competition in the market there are often sign-up bonuses for new utilities providers, often offering the first month free! Again, make sure you are comparing like with like, sometimes providers advertise a promotional rate to lock people in, and then upon realising the fine print you notice you are actually worse off over the long term. When you find a good one, switch and save!
Amount saved – a month of free electricity $60
17. Be a conscious energy user
Not only have you save money by getting the cheapest utility rate around, now you can save even more by using your energy supplies consciously. Turn lights off when you aren’t in the room, or switch bright overheads to smaller lamps. Turn off appliances at the power point as even in standby mode they chew through power. It’s starting to cool down here now so there is no longer a need for air conditioning, but it’s not cold enough to require heating either. Put on a jumper, place a blanket over your lap, or wear those house slippers with pride (indoors only of course).
Amount saved – $10 per month
18. Leave your car at home
If you have a bike, get it out of the garage. If not and you are able bodied, use those legs. Not only will it be good for your health, it will save money on petrol. Last year I walked to work and back for 3 months straight rain, hail or shine. I’m one of those ‘lucky’ people who has designed my life so work and home are as close as possible without being the same place (still working on that), and being close to shops and other facilities I could technically walk to most places if I wanted to. Even if you don’t work close to home, consider where else could you cut out on small trips that have become a habit. Amount saved – $120 per month
The total amount saved if you are super amazing and have implemented every single one of these ideas $750+ in just 30 days.
I hope this has given you some ideas, or even let your mind off on a tangent of your own. Let me know which ones you’ve tried and how much you saved. I’d love to hear your ideas for savings even more!